Vasseur: “We have to keep this momentum and this pace because I think we are going a good job”

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Ferrari had a strong day at the Austrian Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished 2nd and 4th.

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

The 27-point haul for the Scuderia has boosted their prospects in the Constructors’ Championship. They’re now just 14 points behind Aston Martin and 19 adrift of Mercedes in the battle for 2nd.

Team boss Fred Vasseur was pleased that they backed up their Montreal performance by showing themselves to be the second strongest team on race pace today.

“The result is a good one. I think we are in the right direction. We did a strong quali on Friday.

“The race in Canada was a good one — we confirmed [our pace] today on a completely different track layout and tarmac. Now we have to do another step if we want to fight with Max, but we are pushing for this.”

In the opening stint before the virtual safety car which separated the drivers as they pitted at the same time and Sainz lost around 7 seconds, the Spaniard was applying big pressure on the Monegasque.

But it turns out it was decided that the Ferraris would hold position as the team wanted their drivers to pull away from Hamilton and Norris early on.

“At the beginning it was a strategy where we decided that in the whole interest of the team and the two drivers was to pull away from P4 and P5 and to not attack ourselves.

“For sure when you are behind you are much faster with the DRS. We didn’t want to swap every two laps. It was a strategy and they applied it perfectly.”

Although Sainz put in a valiant effort, he lost out to Perez with ten laps remaining in the battle for P3. Nonetheless, the Ferrari boss doesn’t believe his heroic effort in defending helped Leclerc get P2.

“We were quite safe with Charles compared to Perez and I think it was not a big issue. But I think he did as good as he could. He did a very good job at this stage of the race.”

Ferrari’s great pace at the last couple of races suggests they could be lead team behind Red Bull Racing at present. However, Vasseur had a laugh in response when asked if he felt Ferrari are now comfortably second on pace.

“Safely? I am not sure that is the right word *laughs*. I am sure they will develop and bring some updates at the next couple of events. We will do the same. I think it will be a long one until the end of the season.

“It’s very close because the gap today was two or three-tenths a lap. We have to keep this momentum and this pace because I think we are going a good job.”